The Best Tips, Tools and Tech to Make Business Travel More Productive and Stress Free
Your destination is only an hour away, so you only have that much time to put the finishing touches on your client presentation and notes. But you're exhausted, your laptop battery is dead and you're not even sure if your next stop has Wi-Fi access. In short, you're in trouble.
Luckily, this can be avoided. It's a matter of preparing ahead, maximizing the technological resources available to you and accurately assessing your personal capability to perform tasks under distracting conditions. While this last point depends on you, the first two can be made easy with these tips.
1. Finish as Many Tasks as Possible Before the Trip
If you can avoid having to work during the trip, do it. This way, you'll feel more relaxed and recharged, just in time for those grueling meetings with clients. If you just can’t get all of your pre-trip projects knocked out, at least make a game plan to get as many out of the way as you can.
2. Let Your Colleagues Know about Your Trip
This isn't just for courtesy's sake. If your colleagues know you're on a plane at the moment, they're less likely to ask you to do things that'll aggravate your jet lag. And even if they're inconsiderate enough to do that, you can always let them know exactly what you can do, and what you can't do, during your flight.
3. Plan Your To-Dos for the Trip
Think about the tasks you can accomplish while traveling, without compromising the quality of your work. For example, you can write e-mails, outline blog posts, read articles, rehearse your presentation and do other things that don't require you to literally lug an office desk around. You can keep track of all of these with note taking apps such as Evernote, Springpad, Simplenote or even the old-fashioned pen and paper.
Other apps that can help include Boomerang, which schedules your e-mail; Pocket, which downloads online articles for offline use and podcast apps like Overcast for iPhone and Pocket Casts for Android that allow you to listen to educational material on the go.
4. Bring Only the Essentials
Since travel is exhausting, the last thing you want is to get bogged down by unnecessary peripherals. If you need to bring a laptop, make sure it's fully charged before the trip. If it runs out of power, you'll end up with dead weight and won't get anything done. However, when this happens, an extra smartphone or tablet can back you up.
5. Assume That Murphy's Law is at Work
You know what they say: "If it can go wrong, it will." Brace yourself for the possibility that your devices will run out of power, your next destination will not have Wi-Fi and your flight will get delayed.
For powering up dead devices, use a Powerstick. For connecting to the Internet in Ethernet-only locations, use Apple's USB Ethernet adapter. For tracking flights, use mobile flight tracker apps like GateGuru, Google Now and Flightradar24.
Armed with these tools, you can be prepared for even the worst case scenario.
6. Get to Know Your Stops, as Well as Your Destination
For example, if you're traveling via train, it's pretty likely that the stations along the local rail lines will have clusters of businesses and restaurants. Look them up on Google, so you'll know where to stop in case you need to regain your bearings.
7. Savor the Sights and Sounds along the Way
When you're caught up with work, it's easy to take your surroundings for granted. After several minutes of hammering away at that report, getting up every now and then can do wonders for your health. Take a deep breath and let your senses fill up with the beauty of the world around you. You'll be surprised at how this works wonders for your productivity.
8. Give Yourself Time to Relax after Your Trip
The last thing you want is to be too tired to face the people with whom you're supposed to do business. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to wrap up your To-Do list, drink a cup of coffee or water and calm your nerves before heading off to your appointment.
Your business trip doesn't have to get in the way of your productivity.
As long as you plan ahead, are well-prepared and know your ability to perform tasks under travel conditions, you'll be fine. Make use of the tips above, and have a fruitful next trip!